Plug & Play/Turnkey Camping

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby lemur » Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:51 pm

trilobyte wrote:
Will Chase wrote:The challenge, then, is to help these camps integrate into the ways of Burning Man and to positively acculturate their participants. We also want the sponsors of these camps to understand how they are perceived and how they affect the event and the rest of the Burning Man community.
Based on the videos and anecdotes and our own personal experiences, what ideas do we have and what can we suggest to the Org and to these camps (again, in general) to help them integrate into the ways of Burning Man? If you feel they're doing it all wrong, what constructive ideas do you have to help them turn things around and do things right?


It seems a foregone conclusion that it is the goal of the LLC and the community, through this discussion, to integrate these type of businesses into the fabric of the event... i think from much of what ive seen.. the discussions seems to be whether or not we should even allow them..

you put the moderator hat on to sway the discussion back to ways to integrate them.. but really, it seems that this isnt a desire of the community here, and in the comments section on the blog..

I dont have any ideas to help them integrate into the ways of burning man because I don't think we should have for profit/non profit businesses in the form of camps serving clients at burning man. I see integrating them as supportive of the businesses and I dont think those businesses should get any support, nor be allowed to operate at the event.

Suggestion to help them turn it around and do it right? Dont have clients, dont run a business at burning man and dont sell the burning man experience to people.

I honestly dont see how we can integrate these clients into the community.... You cant force people to care with clever engineering.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby chromatest » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:05 pm

lemur wrote:I dont have any ideas to help them integrate into the ways of burning man because I don't think we should have for profit/non profit businesses in the form of camps serving clients at burning man. I see integrating them as supportive of the businesses and I dont think those businesses should get any support, nor be allowed to operate at the event.

Suggestion to help them turn it around and do it right? Dont have clients, dont run a business at burning man and dont sell the burning man experience to people.

I honestly dont see how we can integrate these clients into the community.... You cant force people to care with clever engineering.



I agree with this completely. Unfortunately, we need to look at integrating them instead of stopping them. When a very key person of the new "Burning Man Project" has created his entire wealth (and it is *CONSIDERABLE* wealth) by catering to the experiences of other people, and who has *already* done this at Burning Man, we're fucked. There is only one thing that we can do to stop our Burning Man experience from being muddied by these entrepreneurs, and that is to simply stop going. It won't be the end of Burning Man, and the new people won't even care. It's still "radical" compared to Coachella!
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:11 pm

I think I'm somewhere in the same camp. You can do "plug and play" anywhere--in pretty much the whole damn world. (Maybe not North Korea...) So it seems a shame that a place that hasn't had much of it in the past will become more open to it.

I feel like one of the bitter old timers who was there with the drive by shooting range saying that htere's no going back, that something is lost forever...

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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby zerzura » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:12 pm

chromatest wrote:I agree with this completely. Unfortunately, we need to look at integrating them instead of stopping them. When a very key person of the new "Burning Man Project" has created his entire wealth (and it is *CONSIDERABLE* wealth) by catering to the experiences of other people, and who has *already* done this at Burning Man, we're fucked. There is only one thing that we can do to stop our Burning Man experience from being muddied by these entrepreneurs, and that is to simply stop going. It won't be the end of Burning Man, and the new people won't even care. It's still "radical" compared to Coachella!


Maybe it doesn't make a difference, but the camp you are referring to was a 50th birthday party. Not a camp where people paid for the experience. A very extravagant party, but a week long party in an unplaced camp where the person whose birthday it was had it all arranged for his friends. To me this is different than a pay-to-play plug-n-play.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby zerzura » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:15 pm

As an example of something that bothers me though, this is a company that is advertising packages to Burning Man that help you foster your creativity. They are a school that offers various courses in personal growth, but mostly angled towards career achievement and pushing companies forward. The whole thing sounds EST-y and fairly icky, but that's just to me. What is upsetting though, is that they are basically using Burning Man as a backdrop for their conference/class -- like Vegas. Where "burners" will help the client break through with new creativity or up corporate heights; except that burners and Burning Man itself doesn't receive anything in return, and the people providing the "content" (you and me) do not agree to lead these people on their person fulfillment journey (that because they paid for, they feel that they have a right to).

http://stiglitz.com/events/445/
http://burningman.eventbrite.com/

mod: I looked for a rule to see if I could add these links, I couldn't find one. so edit them if you want.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby forty_eight » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:34 pm

From the Mission Statement::

"survival before services"

I think the fear is that BM becomes a division of labor mediated experience where one's finances are the engine of their participation rather than planning and sweat.

Outright P&P seems very shark jumpy.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby 5280MeV » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:43 pm

DrYes wrote: I go to Burning Man, I look around, and commodification is -everywhere-. Every RV, every car, virtually every tent and yurt, most peoples' food, clothing, etc etc etc. What's so different about paying for car, paying for your gas, paying for your food vs. paying someone else (who will then pay for a vehicle, gas, and the food) to do it?


I think that there is a difference. I kinda thought that part of the idea - or at least part of what the event has evolved into - is to get rid of all financial transactions as much as possible for a week. To just get to know people and interact freely with people bound by no particular financial motive. I think that is fun. It is no way to run a permanent society, but it makes for a fantastic getaway and interesting perspective.

I am not anti-money, or anti-profit. Obviously we have to exchange a lot of money before the event to get everything set up, and there are some necessary exceptions such as emptying the porta-johns that require paid vendors to come in and out. The whole ice thing kinda makes some sense in terms of volume-vs-surface area, and the coffee - well at least the coffee is localized to a single place. Furthermore, the coffee and ice vendors that you interact with - if you interact with them - are largely volunteers doing it just to participate and the money goes to some reasonable cause.

When you have hired staff, this means that there are people living in the city - actual participants in the event - that you base your interactions with from a financial motive. They didn't necessarily make you fresh guacamole because it was fun for them or want to hang out with you, although they might, they made it because you gave them money.

I certainly don't want to be a ten principles fundamentalist, I understand that they conflict and don't make any sense in the logical extreme - but come on - if the LLC is going to condone hired catering, then you may as well just strike decommodification and self-reliance (not even radical) from the list completely. Just admit that the event is no longer about these things in any real sense.

Hell, to take it a step further - why do this on the playa at all? Just get a nice big field like Bonnaroo with less BLM restrictions and better access. If we are not trying to be at least somewhat self-reliant in some form, then why go through the exercise of dealing with a remote and harsh location? I am not trying to be sarcastic here - it really does make more sense.

While I am against policing private camps - what dirty things you do in your kitchen is your business - I don't see why people should not be able to say that hired catering is - well - not really what this event is about, both in culture and in design. For all the talk of radical inclusion, the official FAQ does state that:

Be warned though: If your principal interest in our event is centered on the rave experience, and you won't be happy unless you're cozied up next to an extremely large speaker, Burning Man is probably not for you.


Why not also state that, "If your principal interest in our event is centered on a prefabricated camp, and you won't be happy unless you're eating professionally catered food, Burning Man is probably not for you."

Burn however you want, or call whatever you want burning I guess...
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby stinkyfoot » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:57 pm

zerzura wrote: They are a school that offers various courses in personal growth, but mostly angled towards career achievement and pushing companies forward. The whole thing sounds EST-y and fairly icky, but that's just to me.


I've got to laugh about it. Creativity is a mode of thinking that business types just don't get because they've already had so much training that goes against every way that creatives do things. It's like every baffling jargon phrase they learn is -10 IQ points going to the creative bits.

Except they're all scrambling to get that creative mindset back into business because having too many corporate drones making decisions kills an information age business. It's kind of cute that they think the solution is paying a lot of money to go hear lectures in a place where creative people are, when they could probably just hire some creatives, but whatever.

Maybe some of them will realize their place in the world after visiting BRC and just go ahead and diversify their work force to include the people they need to succeed.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby zerzura » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:02 pm

stinkyfoot wrote:It's kind of cute that they think the solution is paying a lot of money to go hear lectures in a place where creative people are, when they could probably just hire some creatives, but whatever.


That's the thing, I don't even think they are offering their own lecturers - they are expecting "Burning Man" itself to be the teacher.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby alt12 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:03 pm

zerzura wrote:Maybe it doesn't make a difference, but the camp you are referring to was a 50th birthday party. Not a camp where people paid for the experience. A very extravagant party, but a week long party in an unplaced camp where the person whose birthday it was had it all arranged for his friends. To me this is different than a pay-to-play plug-n-play.



well it makes a little bit of a difference but it still something to be discouraged. Inviting a bunch of friends with no relationship to burning man and then setting-up a private professionally-catered camp to turn burning man into your own personal birthday party for the glorification of your massive ego is not additive to the event and is disrespectful to the thousands of people that work their assess off all year to create something special.....
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Wind_Borne » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:07 pm

There is no qualitative difference between PnP for fee camps and a MacDonalds or a Starbucks. All are fee-for-service vendors. Regardless of whether payment is taken before, after or during the event, the essential commercial activity is taking place on the Playa during Burning Man.

I think we all realize that Burning Man could only benefit from truly enforcing the principle of no-commerce. A Burning Man free of all vending and vendors -- including ice and Center Camp coffee -- would encourage more sharing and cooperation; and as a bonus, discourage parasites and looky-loos.

I don't accept the fatalistic view that PnP camps are inevitable. We can simply say no to all vending and commercial activity on the Playa.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Pop_Tart » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:18 pm

alt12 wrote:
zerzura wrote:Maybe it doesn't make a difference, but the camp you are referring to was a 50th birthday party. Not a camp where people paid for the experience. A very extravagant party, but a week long party in an unplaced camp where the person whose birthday it was had it all arranged for his friends. To me this is different than a pay-to-play plug-n-play.



well it makes a little bit of a difference but it still something to be discouraged. Inviting a bunch of friends with no relationship to burning man and then setting-up a private professionally-catered camp to turn burning man into your own personal birthday party for the glorification of your massive ego is not additive to the event and is disrespectful to the thousands of people that work their assess off all year to create something special.....



So... what about having a hired build & teardown crew to come early to setup a private professionally-catered camp but then off-setting that by building a giant horse on the playa and setting it on fire for the enjoyment of the general public? How much art/event/spectacle does a group have to provide to pass the muster of being part of the community, yet still getting a free pass to have an elitist camp that allows you to: "...check all of your cares at the gate."

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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Wind_Borne » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:40 pm

So... what about having a hired build & teardown crew to come early to setup a private professionally-catered camp but then off-setting that by building a giant horse on the playa and setting it on fire for the enjoyment of the general public? How much art/event/spectacle does a group have to provide to pass the muster of being part of the community, yet still getting a free pass to have an elitist camp that allows you to: "...check all of your cares at the gate."


The essential question is: Are goods or services on the Playa being provided for compensation or hire? That is clearly the case in the example described above. Claiming to mitigate the effects of commerce by providing some vague public service is just another form of compensation: it's an offer to buy off other participants.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby lemur » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:45 pm

Pop_Tart wrote:

So... what about having a hired build & teardown crew to come early to setup a private professionally-catered camp but then off-setting that by building a giant horse on the playa and setting it on fire for the enjoyment of the general public? How much art/event/spectacle does a group have to provide to pass the muster of being part of the community, yet still getting a free pass to have an elitist camp that allows you to: "...check all of your cares at the gate."

http://www.trojanhorse2011.com/camp



you cant offset it.

no matter how many carbon offset credits someone buys they cant pull back the shit they spewed into the atmosphere... the damage is done and no matter how many bigass fantasmagorical art projects that everyone enjoys are made youve still commodified the experience (for personal gain, for business profit or to fund a project..).. selling the experience to allow folks to check all of their cares at the gate cannot be offset by interactivity.

you cant overweight one of the values that people in the community largely embrace in order to make up for transgressions on another.

"YEAH BUT I BUILT A 80 FOOT TALL THING AND 20,000 ENJOYED IT BURNING............... YEAH, SO WHAT IF I LEFT A HUGE BLACK SPOT ON THE MOOP MAP?! PEOPLE ENJOYED MY ART!!"

we wouldnt accept this, would we ?!

how is it any different with the commodification of the event.


somehow its OK to put weight on interactivity and art at the expense of commodification ..

but i doubt itd be OK to put weight on interactivity at the expense of leave no trace..

but i didnt see too many people acting all that happy when the camp at 10o'clock got a BLACK SPOT on the moop map, HELL.. they had tons of people enjoying their space during the week.. why are ya harshing their gift?! they gave back!! why should they have to leave no trace?!

sure, leave no trace not being adhered to could get the event terminated by the BLM..

but not abiding by the 'dont turn burning man into a commodity' might get the event terminated by the community.

..in fact, its largely the community that makes burning man what it is..

without the support of the community all youll end up with out there is a buncha entrepreneurs looking to make a buck off of hapless clients as they make profit for their businesses or do interactivity in a vain attempt to offset the damage theyve done.

plug and play camps at burning man! and the carbon offset of tomorrow!!... coming to a burn near you..
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:48 pm

I,ve read through the entire thread and what I don,t see is a consice, specific definition of what a plug and play camp is.

Some examples I came up with were.....

Form 1. Larry invited me to TTITD for the price of a ticket.

I read a lot, prepared as I saw fit, and when I got there, there were streets so I would'nt get lost or need a gps to find my camp.

There were jots so I did'nt have to deal with my shit.

There were water trucks to keep the dust down, and, and, and!!!

That sounds like plug and play on a scale most of us accept.

Form 2. Maybe I work 80hrs. a week to run my firm, so I don't have the time or energy to do prep for the burn, but I do have an idea for an MV no dust hoover craft that launches 1 mile clouds of rainbow confetti that evaporates before it hits the ground.

So I pay someone to build it and pay for them to bring it and the RV and, and, and, so I can fly in cause I don't have any other way to burn.

Different, but still plug and play.

Form 3. Steven Hawking whats to experience Burning Man!

Has to be plug and play in some form.

Form 4. All theme camps and villages!

They all bring stuff to the playa that I can't, and make the burn what it is. (thanks doc pyro and all the rest)

I guess this would be part of form 1.

Form 5. On a whim, I fly into BM with just the clothes on my back and $3K in my pocket, then expect to buy my Burn!!! Plug and play baby!!!

ALL are going to be "A Burning Man experience".

We all have our own, and they are unique to each of us.

It becomes a matter of degrees, and without a precise definition, I don't know where to draw the line.

Have vouchers for Ice and services, and if you flash cash anywhere, you are ejected?

I don't know!!!!!!!!!! :cry:

So can we define exactly what "Plug and Play" is before we get too bogged down in this discussion?

I see a lot of good points being brought up, but let's find out exactly what we're talking about!
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Pop_Tart » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:50 pm

Wind_Borne wrote:
The essential question is: Are goods or services on the Playa being provided for compensation or hire?


The extension of that essential question: Are the Camp Dues of ANY theme camp a form of compensation being provided in exchange for goods and services?

There are NO absolutes here, no lines that can be drawn saying that this much is ok, but that bit over there is too much.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby lemur » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:56 pm

FIGJAM wrote:So can we define exactly what "Plug and Play" is before we get too bogged down in this dicussion?

I see a lot of good points being brought up, but let's find out exactly what we're talking about!


I don't think it is an accident that the term being used to describe these camps is a bit murky.

it is overly broad, and defines many camps, while also obfuscating what I think is the real subject: Businesses that are not the BRC LLC commodifying the event.

the term "plug and play" is overly broad, and perhaps intentionally so, it includes all types of camps, when the real problem I see is: Businesses that are operating at burning man to sell the burning man experience to their clients for money.

plug and play might include some camps that arent doing it for profit, and in that the term is overly broad.

the real concern i see here is: businesses acting as vendors to sell their burning man camps to clients.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:59 pm

lemur wrote:
FIGJAM wrote:So can we define exactly what "Plug and Play" is before we get too bogged down in this dicussion?

I see a lot of good points being brought up, but let's find out exactly what we're talking about!


I don't think it is an accident that the term being used to describe these camps is a bit murky.

it is overly broad, and defines many camps, while also obfuscating what I think is the real subject: Businesses that are not the BRC LLC commodifying the event.

the term "plug and play" is overly broad, and perhaps intentionally so, it includes all types of camps, when the real problem I see is: Businesses that are operating at burning man to sell the burning man experience to their clients for money.

plug and play might include some camps that arent doing it for profit, and in that the term is overly broad.

the real concern i see here is: businesses acting as vendors to sell their burning man camps to clients.


That was my point.

The line is so fuzzy that I can't see it! 8)
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby lemur » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:05 pm

Pop_Tart wrote:
Wind_Borne wrote:
The essential question is: Are goods or services on the Playa being provided for compensation or hire?


The extension of that essential question: Are the Camp Dues of ANY theme camp a form of compensation being provided in exchange for goods and services?

There are NO absolutes here, no lines that can be drawn saying that this much is ok, but that bit over there is too much.


the answer to that is: IT DEPENDS.


If a camp is openly advertising seeking members from the general public who they do not know, on a website or elsewhere.. and say they need to pay money to be a part of the camp, then YES i would say it is a form of compensation being provided in exchange for goods and service.

that example is of a camp that hasnt organically grown through connections and groups of friends, the resources of which arent pooled.. but they are in effect 'fundraised' through adding extraneous members who might not, and probably dont, have any devotion to the project at hand but just want to be in 'a camp at burning man'


if a camp has a group of friends, likeminded people, and a network of workers that pool their resources and all members of the camps pay dues.. (and no advertising for outside strangers to join has been done) then this is an organic camp of people likely devoted to their project and their cause and this is perfectly OK.. in my mind, this is wholly different from the above example.

so we have two models that have been seen a lot at burning man:

1. group of likeminded networked friends and acquaintances pool resources to get a project done

2. group of likeminded friends realize they cannot get their project done with their own pooling of resources and start to appeal to the public with advertisements to allow strangers and anyone who wants to come to their camp FOR A FEE

#1 is just pooling resources

#2 is exchanging the compensation and payment of money to provide services (infrastructure, camp space)

in the case of #1 and #2 a project that the community enjoys happens...

in the case of #2 it was only achieved through turning the event into a commodity that people unrelated to the project helped fund in exchange for use of camp infrastructure.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby chromatest » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:09 pm

Yeah, I've been thinking the same thing.

Reading about Playaskool, Jon is pretty much describing it as I thought most large scale theme camps already operated. Everybody pays a camp fee, everybody has a job (or jobs) to make the camp function. Some camps have build teams, while other people are cleanup and others are cooks. One person might only be responsible for making one community meal during the event, but that's their job to make the camp function.

On the other hand, there are other camps where a crew literally takes care of everything (or a substantial portion of it) in exchange for the camp fee. People pay a fee and show up with their costumes (some camps even provide stuff to help your costumes, elwire, fauxfur, etc.).

Unless I'm missing something major, I wouldn't consider a camp like Playaskool to even be "Plug & Play". Did they have people who's sole purpose was to cater to the camp members?

There are so many grey areas, it's not even funny. One example that comes to mind, giving somebody a ticket to be your dedicated camp cook because you don't want to cook for yourself (and for the rest of the camp) vs. giving your friend a ticket because you love his food and want to eat it on playa, but otherwise he wouldn't be able to attend...

lemur wrote:
FIGJAM wrote:So can we define exactly what "Plug and Play" is before we get too bogged down in this dicussion?

I see a lot of good points being brought up, but let's find out exactly what we're talking about!


I don't think it is an accident that the term being used to describe these camps is a bit murky.

it is overly broad, and defines many camps, while also obfuscating what I think is the real subject: Businesses that are not the BRC LLC commodifying the event.

the term "plug and play" is overly broad, and perhaps intentionally so, it includes all types of camps, when the real problem I see is: Businesses that are operating at burning man to sell the burning man experience to their clients for money.

plug and play might include some camps that arent doing it for profit, and in that the term is overly broad.

the real concern i see here is: businesses acting as vendors to sell their burning man camps to clients.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby 5280MeV » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:17 pm

Pop_Tart wrote:So... what about having a hired build & teardown crew to come early to setup a private professionally-catered camp but then off-setting that by building a giant horse on the playa and setting it on fire for the enjoyment of the general public? How much art/event/spectacle does a group have to provide to pass the muster of being part of the community, yet still getting a free pass to have an elitist camp that allows you to: "...check all of your cares at the gate."

http://www.trojanhorse2011.com/camp


Well ... shit.

Nothing like having your viewpoint deconstructed by a delicious morning snack.

I don't know quite what to think. The horse was my central navigation point until they burned it down. I really liked the horse. It doesn't seem right to say that the horse crew isn't doing it right.

It is like somebody pulled back the curtain, exposing the intricate economic gears powering the show - destroying the facade that the splendor of the esplanade is really a collection of "social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising".

Not quite sure anymore.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Pop_Tart » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:22 pm

lemur wrote:1. group of likeminded networked friends and acquaintances pool resources to get a project done

2. group of likeminded friends realize they cannot get their project done with their own pooling of resources and start to appeal to the public with advertisements to allow strangers and anyone who wants to come to their camp FOR A FEE


That is a good distinction lemur, but personally, I (and my entire camp) have no problem with either #1 or #2. Mal-Mart and many other camps I have seen have been #2. I offer that neither #1 nor #2 fit the key problem posed by this thread. So long as NO PROFIT is made by the organizers of a camp, then sharing resources to build something crazy (or setup a super comfy camp) is not inherently a commodification of BM. I don't care who is tossing money in the hat, or how much money each person is tossing in, so long as the money is not being used to generate a profit for anyone related to the camp. Similar to the 'Face-Value-or-F-Off' premise for Tickets, so to should 'At-Cost-or-F-Off' be a slogan for all of the Theme Camps at hand. Everyone's books should be available for review to prove that no profit is made.

This discussion of commodification has probably gone quite a bit off topic from plug & play, but there is one more example I would like to bring up. At every LA Decom event, some camps get to serve drinks in the beer garden as a means of off-setting the costs they incurred at that year's burn. So now we are using the mystique of the BM image to get many of the mundane visitors to LA Decom to bankroll special theme camps. How in the world does that fit into our 10 principals?
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Wind_Borne » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:31 pm

There are NO absolutes here, no lines that can be drawn saying that this much is ok, but that bit over there is too much.


Absolutes are not required. This principle is this: would a reasonable person see this activity as providing goods or services for compensation or hire? The concept of the "reasonable person" is well established in US law.

One case cited, sharing reasonable expenses of a theme camp, would not be providing goods/services for compensation or hire on the Playa. Of course, if someone was given a ticket in exchange for acting as the camp chef, then that would be compensation or hire.

This definition -- providing services for compensation or hire -- is the same one used to distinguish commercial pilots from private pilots. In practice it's a pretty clear line most of the time. And when it seems murky, it's usually because someone is trying to get away with something they know violates the spirit of the law.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby lemur » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:33 pm

5280MeV wrote:
Pop_Tart wrote:So... what about having a hired build & teardown crew to come early to setup a private professionally-catered camp but then off-setting that by building a giant horse on the playa and setting it on fire for the enjoyment of the general public? How much art/event/spectacle does a group have to provide to pass the muster of being part of the community, yet still getting a free pass to have an elitist camp that allows you to: "...check all of your cares at the gate."

http://www.trojanhorse2011.com/camp


Well ... shit.

Nothing like having your viewpoint deconstructed by a delicious morning snack.

I don't know quite what to think. The horse was my central navigation point until they burned it down. I really liked the horse. It doesn't seem right to say that the horse crew isn't doing it right.

It is like somebody pulled back the curtain, exposing the intricate economic gears powering the show - destroying the facade that the splendor of the esplanade is really a collection of "social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising".

Not quite sure anymore.



seems like people offering space in a fancy camp for money as a way to fundraise for their art project on the playa..

in effect, it seems to me to be a way to rationalize, commodifying, selling spots on the playa to people.

this has been going on for a long while.. perhaps it is just now coming up for discussion.


the thing that will have to be decided on eventually is if commodifying the experience is OK so long as we are able to rationalize a community benefit from it: i.e. big art, interactive camps.

as i see it? If you cant make it happen through traditional off-playa fundraising or your own pooling of resources via the people directly involved in your project.. it is unseemly to sell spots in a camp to people unrelated to the camp, to fundraise your project.

even the most awesome project that was built on commodifying the experience is one built on a system of values I think we should avoid and could lead to negative things in the future..


in effect i can see us getting to the point that it seems like itd NOT be ok to have a business selling spots in a camp for profit.... but itd be perfectly fine for a project to sell spots in a camp to fund a project.

as i see it the problem is the selling of spots.. not the net result of what happens with the money.

big awesome project or not.. the people buying those spots are the problem we need to deal with, more-so than where the money is going
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby MyDearFriend » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:35 pm

I totally agree that the line is fuzzy, but I do believe there is a line.

A camp, theme camp, village, service support or sleeping camp, is (or should properly be) formed by voluntary association of people who pool resources to achieve a communal purpose. These campers participate on and off playa. I think the BMorg strongly encourages this.

What we are calling "plug & play camps" are those groups formed through commercial transactions to provide services to individuals. These campers are consumers. The leadership there is entrepreneurial rather than cooperative. I think the BMorg should strongly discourage this. And I think any camp that recruits through public advertisement has already gone way past the line, and should not be placed (excepting of course the venerable Green Tortoise).

I was shocked and saddened to see the Trojan Horse project descend into "Luxe Playa Package" fundraising last year. I revoked my support (financial and volunteer commitments) when I saw that happening. There are already too many passive consumers in our culture. Don't breed them in BRC.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Elorrum » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:08 pm

The org wants to encourage a "discussion" so they can let us feel we've had a say in the way that will make more of the same go down our throats easier. The ten principles may go the way of the drive by shooting range.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby lemur » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:19 pm

Elorrum wrote:The org wants to encourage a "discussion" so they can let us feel we've had a say in the way that will make more of the same go down our throats easier. The ten principles may go the way of the drive by shooting range.


i hate to agree with this type of thing as i usually think such comments are way off base in their demonization of the LLC and those who run the event..

but here.. it seems like they are already accepting of the spot these operations have in the community and are looking for a way to bring them on board..

Will Chase wrote:We know that such camps (and those who use them) are a varied bunch and they’re here to stay. The challenge, then, is to help these camps integrate into the ways of Burning Man


yeah.. seems like discussion is being encouraged to make people feel like they had a say..

it appears to already have been decided they are here to stay...

so yeah! i think id have to agree Elorrum

as for finding a way to make them integrate into the burn, again i dont think we should be integrating them at all...... but it seems that decision has already been made.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby pink » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:49 pm

One thing I find unsettling is that the 'birthday boy' in the video is on the new Borg board of trustees. Not because he threw himself a birthday party at Burning Man, or even that he had it catered (although I don't agree with it, it's just not the most unsettling thing). It's that he thinks that bringing his friends to a pre-built camp where everything was done for them will give them Burning Man. Not any different than inviting them to Paris or the Galapagos or the other places mentioned at the beginning of the video. His friends talk about his creativity and enlightenment, etc. and his generosity. I don't dismiss that he is creative; hell, I love his hotels. And I'd like a friend that would pay for me to go to XXX on the map for a birthday party!

But gifting them Burning Man would have been to all show up in the RVs and trucks at midnight on Sunday, and build the yurts, set up the shade, cook together, and experience the community. He gave them an exotic locale, but he didn't give them Burning Man.

And it's frightening that HE doesn't 'get it'. He is on the fucking board, and he doesn't GET Burning Man.

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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby Nipple » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:07 pm

Smells witch-hunty.

I don't like the idea of paying $3k to $10k for your preassembled Burning Man get away, but I think leveling "is burning manny" or "isn't very burning manny" is a quick trip to Circlejerk USA, Population: US.

They certainly didn't make for good neighbors. I feel like camping next to a walled garden prevented a lot of natural interaction.

Also in this thread, I've seen RVs mentioned as a red herring. RVs are rad. I don't camp in one, but who cares. That's completely not what the conversation is about.
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Re: Plug & Play Camping

Postby some seeing eye » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:12 pm

BM is a cult, and as such, has a whole series of inclusive and exclusive mechanisms, including what we are debating. But it also falls into the do what I say (principles), not what I do category. And like the Emerald City, we have the wizards running the controls. (And the emperor is probably not wearing clothes!)

I'm fine with that and willingly suspend belief to be part of it. This year, hundreds of placed and unplaced camps will collect dues from strangers. Maybe that will be the pattern in every year to follow with the mismatch between capacity and desire.

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Shaw: Madam, would you sleep with me for a million pounds?
Actress: My goodness, Well, I'd certainly think about it
Shaw: Would you sleep with me for a pound?
Actress: Certainly not! What kind of woman do you think I am?!
Shaw: Madam, we've already established that. Now we are haggling about the price!

Specific suggestion: have the ORG reach out to the PnP camps to offer them the opportunity to pay for board, staff and department heads to give talks in their camps on the culture, history, etc. Artist tours. Dinner in the commissary. Tour the ranch. (Probably don't introduce them to DPW, that could lead to cannibalism) Price it high enough to make it valuable and provide exclusive value enough to make it worth the experience. It's also networking, because staff might be looking for jobs in the future.
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